Denver Flâneur

Flâneur: a French word that means “to wander aimlessly through a city.” It was co-opted by Baudelaire to mean “an observer of urban life,” a bit loosened from its original mooring. Baudelaire was a 19th century poet. As I’ve told you before, poets always start trouble, even if only about the sense of words—or especially about that. I’m not being pretentious: there’s no good English equivalent for flâneur.

These photos all come from wandering through my neighborhood and city, though not always aimlessly, except that the subjects were not planned. They just showed up. s

Sparkling Corvette

Shiny new Corvette, parked half in the handicapped zone, outside a storefront Baptist church. I did not know how to explain it.

Cranes over Cole

I think of them as vultures, the cranes of RINO, hovering over the Cole neighborhood of modest bungalows that has been undisturbed for decades. For good and bad, the city is changing.

Front yard chickens

Might be City Park West. But hey, chickens in the front yard. And they have photos of all their ancestors on the wall.

Phil in pretend French countryside

At the Denver Art Museum, a charming attempt to evoke the French countryside American painters fled to in August. Everyone leaves Paris in August, apparently. Phil, having pulled his mask down, searches for his glasses to look at the exhibit catalog. He was disappointed in the quality of its reproductions.

Small Press Book Fair I

In the Santa Fe Arts district, Denver’s small press book fair gave me hope for the future of literary arts. So many passionate young presses, producing comics and poetry books and novels and everything in between. Much of it will die deserved deaths, but on one of those many tables may be the next great American writer.

Small Press Book Fair II

And today, St. Patrick’s Day, thick with wet snow clinging to the trees. One must shake off the beauty bush, which tends to break branches in heavy snow. All around the city, though, tulips poke their intrepid spears through whiteness, happy for the moisture.

Lightening the Beauty Bush’s Load


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12 Responses to Denver Flâneur

  1. Barbara Ellman/ says:

    Love this combination
    A warm distraction

  2. Let me suggest that the Corvette should generate an intriguing short story….

  3. Barbara Ellman/ says:

    I appreciate the wonderful distraction of pictures and prose
    Thank you

  4. Marian Eskridge says:

    I enjoyed seeing and reading this on this snowy St. Pat’s. And yes, my tulips and daffodills are peeking through the snow, the crocus having already started to bloom for about two weeks.

  5. Deb R. says:

    You always amaze me with the connections of your writing to my life! We are definitely Flâneuring!
    wandering aimlessly around the city of San Miguel de Allende on the first leg of our 6-week trip in central Mexico. Get is driving like a Mexican and I ate a huge plate of carne asada for dinner last night. Hot afternoon here, and not missing the snow.

  6. Bob Jaeger says:

    Thanks, Pat. Makes me feel like maybe it’s time to start wandering around again.

  7. Jenny-Lynn says:

    These words and photos are a delightful combo, Pat, and I agree about the Corvette short story. I love our neighborhood, too, but see it with fresh eyes in this lovely post. A snow day to run ski and bike clothes through the laundry, sure to need both this week.

  8. Gregg Painter says:

    Thanks for reminding me it was St. Patrick’s Day. Somewhere my brain was telling me: March 17th. That sounds familiar. But the full moon rising erased that thought. I call myself a flâneur on Instagram, because I take most of my pictures walking around the neighborhood so why not. Nice photos, Pat.

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